On Thursday, September 26, World Business Chicago (WBC) President and CEO Andrea Zopp, joined Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and leaders and staff of Farmer’s Fridge in a ribbon-cutting for their new 50,000 square foot facility located on Chicago’s Southside at 5370 S. Cicero Avenue in the Midway Business District. The facility currently employs 170, many from surrounding neighborhoods and is expecting to double the number of kitchen employees by the end of 2020 to fuel the company’s rapid expansion.
“Chicago is home to incredible neighborhoods with loyal and dedicated workers who need companies to meet them where they are,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “In a relatively short time, Farmer’s Fridge has changed the way people think about eating, with access to fresh, healthy food and now that commitment to helping people lead better lives has expanded to a new facility that will help people provide for themselves and their families.”
Established in 2013, Farmer’s Fridge is a privately-held food and technology company founded and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. The company has pioneered simple touchscreen technology and proprietary software to create a seamless, satisfying customer experience while minimizing food waste. The maintenance-free, low-energy Fridges have become a go-to amenity for businesses across multiple regions, having already served over two million meals to date.
“As a Chicago transplant, I am deeply grateful to this city for its incredible support of entrepreneurship. Based on the powerful local network of talent, resources, mentorship, and investment, we’ve been able to expand Farmer’s Fridge over the past six years from a single location to more than 350 Fridges. Our company has grown from a single employee to 250 people working together with a common goal of making fresh, healthy food more accessible,” said Luke Saunders, Founder & CEO. “With the opening of our new 50,000 square foot production facility, we’re thrilled to be part of the South Side community. We’re excited to bring great local talent onto the Farmer’s Fridge team and look forward to doubling our kitchen headcount by the end of next year.”
Through this new facility, Farmer’s Fridge will continue its rapid expansion across the country to increase the access people have to wholesome, delicious food. In addition to serving more than two million handcrafted meals in six years in Chicago, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis, they have adopted a Zero Waste philosophy and has composted over one million pounds of food through Organix Recycling to reduce landfill waste. Farmer’s Fridge has also donated 255,000 pounds of food through partnerships with local food pantries.
“An innovative economy is a growing economy, and innovation lives here in Chicago,” said Andrea Zopp, President & CEO, World Business Chicago. “Farmer’s Fridge is a great example of an idea that was incubated here, grew into a viable business, and today is bringing economic development and jobs into the neighborhood.”
Farmer’s Fridge is uniquely tackling the three major barriers that prevent people from eating healthier: taste, convenience, and affordability through a revolutionary way to get fresh, delicious food in seconds. There are 350 Fridges located in three states filled with 25 balanced meals, snacks, and beverages. Farmer’s Fridge uses proprietary technology that tracks inventory and individual Fridge sales patterns, to ensure that each location is stocked to fully optimize demand and minimize waste.